In Victoria Dahl's Lead Me On, the hero is a demolition expert. How cool is that? There's something about a man who can handle dynamite and blow things up that's just so macho. So--dare I say it? So SEXY.
This is the first time I've seen a fictional character with that job. Mostly, I see the same jobs, the same careers recycled over and over again. Why do you suppose that is?
A couple of possibilities occur to me.
First, as writer, we often need our characters to have the kind of flexibility that a nine-to-five job doesn't allow. That leads to a lot of characters who are self-employed, but even so, they seem to have the same old jobs. They're never . . . Well, demolition experts. (Be still my heart.)
Another possibility is that we copy what we see in the real world. There's thousands of fascinating jobs out there that we never use. Jobs that were never on the career counselor's radar. It hard to imagine those jobs if you don't know about them.
But even if you do know about them, you probably don't know enough to write a character into one of them with any confidence. Just as I don't know enough about demolition experts to write a character with that job.
This is a problem I have a lot.
So I'm going to try a little experiment. I'm going to start interviewing the people I know who have or have had jobs that aren't on the radar and posting them here.
Like my friend, Bob, who was a drivers' license examiner for 20 years. (We also get a bonus there because I'm going to have him explain how it works when an examiner goes rogue and sells "fake" IDs.) I also have a friend who's a veterinarian. (Yes, you've seen that vocation used, but there's lots you don't know about being a vet.) And I'll probably kick in the email exchange I had with another writer who wanted details about working as florist. I've got a few other friends with interesting jobs to tap.
But I know a lot of you out there have had interesting jobs that I've never dreamed of. I've love to hear from you, especially if you'd be willing to share the gruesome details. ;)
Come. Be my new career counselor. Leave a comment about your job. Or if you're shy, email me at suequint
NOTE ADDED LATER: I hope y'all are finding this feature useful or at least interesting. The more folks who contribute, the better this will be, so if you've worked an unusual or interesting job and you'd like to tell us about that job, I'd love to hear from you. Please leave a post HERE.